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Reinscribing the Self: Performer Training as Cultural Pentimento

Reinscribing the Self: Performer Training as Cultural Pentimento

McLaughlin, James A. ORCID: 0000-0002-2146-6884 (2019) Reinscribing the Self: Performer Training as Cultural Pentimento. In: Embodied/Embodying Performer Training: Practices and Practicalities: TaPRA Performer Training Working Group Interim Event, 24 April 2019, University of South Wales, Cardiff Campus, The ATRiuM. (Unpublished)

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Trainings are often expressed in terms of ideals that that trainee seeks to attain. These may be pure forms, desirable states of awareness, or ideal bodies that the trainee seeks to emulate. By engaging voluntarily in a training, the trainee strives towards these ideals. As trainings are embodied, they are copied, translated, and layered upon the body of the trainee. That body is never a blank canvas for directly replicating the training they engage with. It is already a contested site; a collection of cultural identities, inheritances, routines, habits and paradigms. Each of these aspects of the trainee’s experience has marked their body and inscribed it with particular qualities, tendencies, and physical shapes. When the ideals of the training are translated into the reality of the trainee’s body, it is not as a fresh inscribing of the original training, but instead a pentimento – as a painting is corrected by painting over a previously finished section. The fresh layer is affected by the traces of the previous brush strokes and hardened paint. Just so, the new training inscribed on the body of the trainee is accented and shaped by the traces of the underlying, pre-inscribed body. When the transmission of training is intercultural, the distance across which training must be transmitted is amplified. The trainee’s remoulded body falls further from the ideal body the training is predicated on and so it is not an achievement of an ideal, but the construction of a hybrid body, a body between paradigms, a body mired in reality. It is an act of cultural reassignation, not from one paradigm to another, but from one unique body to a transformed body between ideals. It is an act of defiance against purity, a deliberate contamination of oneself with the world, and of a perfect body with particularity. I will use projections and physical demonstration to illustrate how accumulated experience and successive trainings have claimed my body as an intersection point for converging cultural narratives and the consequences of this for my own training practice.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: phillip zarrilli, keith johnstone, meisner technique, performer training, psychophysical, pentimento
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Literature & Drama Research Group
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Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 10:29

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